Vendor feature: Pemmican Patty

Patricia’s nephew Micah (left) and brother Mike (right) serve as co-founders and help with the food science and marketing aspects of the company

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My name is Patricia Mabin. I am a descendant of Chief Little Thunder (Joseph Gourneau) and his father before him, Old Wild Rice, one of the earliest recorded chiefs of the Pembina/Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians. I began this journey when my brother Mike and I were driving home after spending the day in Belcourt, North Dakota, on the Turtle Mountain Reservation. We were talking about our heritage and our futures. I expressed that I’d like to find a way to bring our past into the present and keep our culture alive. The discussion of bison, survival, and ingenuity started to unfold, and when pemmican was mentioned, the vision began. 

Pemmican Patty has breathed new life into me, a once hopeless, worn-out woman. As a teenage single mother, I got my GED and began a long stretch of minimum wage jobs to provide for myself and my son. Over the past six decades, I’ve been divorced (more than once), recovered from alcoholism and addiction (more than once), treated for depression (more than once), had major surgeries (more than once), and survived a serious ATV accident. 

I’ve been homeless, uninsured and without a car. I’ve also visited or lived in many of the states west of the Mississippi, had the honor of caring for my Grandmother during her last year of life, and learned that money might make living “easier” but true riches (and character) come from hardship. Over the years, the most I’ve really had to offer has been time and love.  

In my late 50s’, I lived in Mexico for a year before bringing my 7-year-old granddaughter to North Dakota to live with me. I journeyed with her through tuberculosis, all her childhood vaccinations, mega dental work, and into middle school when her family decided to take her back. After a lifetime of putting others before myself, I was over 60, overweight, without an income, without a car and unable to afford rent. 

After moving back into my parents’ basement and being treated for depression once more, I struggled to consider a future, much less try to dream up something new to try! With the help of the Creator, my family and especially my brother, the dream of Pemmican Patty has come alive. It has given me renewed hope and purpose. It has strengthened family ties and provided a view of the past and a vision for the future. It is living proof that the joy is in the journey! 

Based on a strong desire to keep our heritage alive, I learned that my Grandma Ida and other Metis’ ancestors before her, made pemmican to sustain themselves and others, including trappers, traders and soldiers. Dubbed “the indigenous super food,” our version of pemmican is made of real food. A combination of bison, beef, berries, and maple sap water provides a convenient, natural source of energy for people on the go in today’s modern world. My hope is for this product to promote good health and preserve Metis traditions, one pemmican bite at a time! 

Traditionally, pemmican was made with a mixture of dried meat and rendered fat. Made properly, pemmican would last indefinitely and could sustain an individual for months. Our modern-day version consists of a blend of bison, beef, berries, and other natural ingredients. 

Our vision is to become a broadly consumed, modern day version of pemmican, providing flavorful nutrition from natural ingredients and clean sources. We aim to bring pemmican back to its days of glory to protect, preserve and promote the knowledge of the past for generations to come.  

Buy yourself some pemmican today and find joy in restoring ancestral food ways!  

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